|I want Mike's tall chair|
Why do I do it? First this particular show is a community affair sponsored by my Monadnock Area Artist Association and filled with wonderful local artists. It is a great chance to catch up with friends and to meet visitors from throughout the region. Of course it is pleasant to have folks tell me how wonderful my "paintings" are, even though this typically occurs just before they move on to the next tent. I generally sell enough work to make it financially viable, but the primary reason for doing this comes down to the most important marketing technique that I have applied ever since I began trying to establish myself as a regional landscape photographer, SHOW THE WORK. I believe that for a new photographer there is nothing more important than to show your work as often as possible and in every available venue. Of course I have worked to get my work accepted at a number of regional art stores, but in the course of the last 4 years I have also participated in about 15 group shows and over 30 solo exhibitions. I have displayed my work in town halls, civic centers, churches, stores, banks, hospital hallways, and almost every restaurant in the region that happens to have a wall. Sometimes these shows have resulted in sales, but the primary goal is to show the work. I also try to keep my web presence up to date and fresh on my personal site as well as on Flickr and more recently 500 pixels. I have collected a surprising amount of private and commercial business from people who found my work as a result of a simple Google search. Over the last few years my New England Reflections Calendar has raised over $40 thousand dollars for the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center, but it has also been an effective tool for making my images of the region more generally know. What could be better than displaying a fresh example of my work on a monthly basis to hundreds of local families? Increasingly I have been receiving requests for donations of images for inclusion in local charity auctions. These opportunities are valuable on a number of levels. Most importantly it is wonderful to feel that my work can, in a small way, assist in fulfilling the needs and aspirations of my community at a time when support is required more than ever. Of secondary importance is that charity auctions introduce my work to groups of people who might not frequent exhibitions or art stores. I find it remarkable that so many artists view charitable donations as a opportunity to unload unpopular pieces that have been languishing in the old photo bin. The value of your donation to your business is, once again, the opportunity to SHOW THE WORK. It costs me the same to produce an average image as it does for one of my "hero" shots. By only giving my best work both the charity and my business get the most from the donation.
Shows like Art in the Park are just another opportunity to show the work. Sure I sold some pieces and collected some orders, but the real value was that hundreds of local people got to see my photographs. In the future when they are trying to think of a birthday gift for gramma or a going away present for a co-worker, and they want something that reflects the essence of our region, they may just remember me.
How many times did I say "show the work"? Not enough.
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